New York is one of the most densely populated states in America. There are around 20 million people who live within its borders, and it’s a large enough population to support homeschool groups across all five boroughs (Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx).
But suppose you’re planning on starting your own home education group there. In that case, the first thing you’ll need is information about how to organize yourself as an educational organization in NY State legally.
To start homeschooling in New York, follow these steps:
- Research and familiarize yourself with the homeschooling laws and regulations in New York.
- Notify your local school district of your intent to homeschool by submitting a letter of intent.
- Keep records of your child’s homeschooling progress and provide them to the local school district upon request.
- Provide instruction in specific subjects as required by New York state law.
- Meet the attendance requirements as set by New York state law.
- Register with a homeschooling organization or program if desired.
- Follow any additional regulations or laws set by your local school district or state.
- Start homeschooling and keep records of your child’s progress.
- Be aware that New York requires annual evaluation for homeschooled students, which can be done through a standardized test, portfolio evaluation, or evaluation by a certified teacher.
- Remember that New York City has different regulations and procedures; checking with the Department of Education for specific guidelines is essential.
As one of the largest cities in the United States, New York provides plenty of opportunities for parents looking to start homeschooling their kids. But before you go out onto the streets, pick up some textbooks, and get ready to teach your child at home, there are certain things that you should know beforehand.
If you want to set up as a legal education provider under New York State law, read on to find out what you need to do.
What You Need Before Starting A Home Education Group
If you plan on homeschooling in New York, you’ll want to ensure everything is lined up. While running a home-based program isn’t difficult, the laws regarding home education vary greatly depending on which part of the country you reside in.
So, before getting started, you should familiarize yourself with the rules in New York State specifically.
To operate as an independent educational provider, you must first register your educational institution with the local school board. Once you’ve done that, you’ll receive documents called Form N-200A. These forms outline several aspects of your new educational venture, including registration requirements, fees, parental involvement policies, and other vital information.
Don’t forget to bring these papers with you while visiting your homeschool district. Even though they won’t necessarily require them, the administrators sometimes ask you to fill them out during meetings.
While working through the process of registering your home education group, keep track of every meeting you attend. You will gather a lot of data to complete the paperwork required by the Department Of Education.
When filling out your application, don’t skip over anything. Note down names, dates, locations, topics discussed, participants, etc., especially if you meet with multiple administration members throughout your research.
Once you’ve registered your educational group, you must submit periodic progress reports. Keep records of attendance rates, the curriculum used, student scores, and more. One way to accomplish this task would be to use Google Docs to create a document outlining your goals for each class session.
Then type up copies of these reports and send them to the appropriate officials by the deadlines.
As mentioned earlier, many types of educational providers operate in New York. Some provide instruction based solely on religion, others follow a traditional teaching method, whereas others utilize methods that combine both secular and religious teachings.
After choosing your preferred approach, you must determine whether you’d like to offer only primary or secondary grades.
Also, once you’ve decided which area(s) in your community you wish to serve, decide how much funding you’ll need to pay staff members for your classes. Many families choose to hire tutors rather than teachers due to financial constraints.
However, hiring professionals such as certified educators is often necessary since homeschoolers aren’t allowed to charge tuition prices. Also, remember to factor in any additional costs associated with special needs students.
Finally, if you intend to obtain certification for your home education group, check into local colleges offering education-related degrees. Some notable examples include University at Buffalo, SUNY Fredonia, Empire State College, Clarkson University, and Stony Brook University.
You could earn your degree without attending a single classroom lecture, depending on your field of interest.
Hire An Attorney
Even if you think you’ll never need one, you may need a lawyer sooner or later. Since homeschooling is a growing concept, you might run into problems occasionally. One common issue involves compliance issues relating to the separation between church and state.
Because the government plays a role in educating young minds, strict guidelines regarding religious influences are present in classrooms. Because of this, you’ll need to ensure that any homeschooling method you choose does not go against any potential guidelines set for homeschooling families and curriculum reporting.
Another concern relates to privacy. Most public schools are bound by federal regulations requiring them to allow access to standardized testing results. Private schools, however, aren’t held to these same standards. Therefore, your children’s test scores may or may not remain confidential despite taking them privately.
To combat these concerns, consider consulting with an attorney experienced in helping individuals establish homeschool organizations. They can help guide you through the complex legalities of establishing a successful home education program.
Find The Right School District For Your Kids
When deciding which neighborhood to settle in, you usually look for something close to work, family, and friends. Unfortunately, finding the perfect location doesn’t always come easy when dealing with children. Fortunately, New York offers many public and charter elementary schools that cater to almost every conceivable learning style.
Charter schools enjoy less oversight from the governing body and tend to focus more on innovation. On average, charter schools cost significantly less yearly than regular public schools. Charter schools are typically smaller in size and enroll fewer students.
Consequently, they generally attract better-performing students whose parents prefer a more hands-on approach to education.
On the other hand, public schools draw their power from the larger pool of students enrolled in the system. Public schools are overseen by elected representatives instead of professional managers. Public schools are typically bigger in size and enrollment numbers than charter schools. Students usually have a wider variety in selecting their specific courses of study.
Either way, whichever path you choose, you’ll want to examine the various offerings available.
New York City Schools Guide
Choosing a charter school is often more manageable if you enroll your entire household in the same building. This option allows you to select a single school and share the benefits provided by a collective package. The downside is that the packages offered tend to be higher priced.
Unfortunately, opting to spread your children among several public schools requires you to coordinate schedules.
Depending on where you choose to live, your children may already be enrolled in either public or charter schools. Regardless, it is a good idea to contact individual schools directly to inquire about the quality and reputation of their programs. Ask questions about teacher salaries, extracurricular activities, and other factors that matter most to your family.
It would be best if you also spent time researching online forums containing discussions concerning the various subjects covered in homeschooling. By reading posts written by fellow residents, you’ll gain valuable insight into what life is like for home-educated students in your locale.
Don’t Forget About Special Needs Students
One last consideration is that special needs students are entitled to equal protection under the law. If you suspect your children fall into this category, speak to specialists early to discuss ways to implement accommodations.
For instance, if your child has ADHD, you may want to explore services designed to assist them in managing their condition. Similarly, if another child displays signs of dyslexia, you may wish to consult a specialist who can devise strategies that address their difficulties.
Keep in mind that homeschooling provides numerous advantages for special needs learners. Parents can tailor lessons according to their loved ones’ strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, homeschooled students avoid distractions encountered daily in public settings. Finally, it allows families to maximize the amount of parent-child interaction.
Whether your child struggles with disabilities or enjoys learning independently, they deserve the best treatment and experience. Taking proactive measures now ensures your child gets nothing short of high-caliber assistance.